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You've got questions about workman's comp insurance, and we've got answers. Review our comprehensive workman's comp FAQ to get complete answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is workman's comp insurance?

Workmans compensation (or workman's comp) insurance is a form of state-regulated, no-fault liability insurance, which covers employee medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation services, and death resulting from work-related injury or illness. Employers in every state, except Texas, are required by law to provide workman's comp coverage. Employees injured in the workplace are eligible for workman's comp benefits regardless of fault. In other words, employees do not have to prove employer negligence to claim benefit.

What is a workman's comp injury or illness?

Any injury or illness that results from performing one's job or conducting an employer's business is eligible for workman's compensation. A workman's comp injury or illness can be caused by a single event/accident or repeated exposures to a hazard. Employers and insurers generally have the right to dispute claims if they result from injuries that are not accidental. Additionally, employee negligence, such as working intoxicated or ignoring safety rules, can be an employer defense against claims.

Are employers ever exempt from workman's compensation?

Some states exempt employers in specific sectors from carrying workman's comp insurance. For example, agriculture employers and independent real estate agents are often exempt. Some states also exempt employers who do not have a minimum payroll or number of employees. Kansas, for instance, exempts companies with annual payrolls less than $20,000. Maine exempts agriculture employers with six or fewer workers.

Can I self-insure my company for workman's compensation?

Most state workman's comp laws allow large employers to self-finance their workman's comp programs and self-insure their employees. Only North Dakota, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and Wyoming prohibit this. In these instances, the employer does not purchase workman's comp insurance from a state workman's compensation fund or a private insurer. The company funds its own plan under the supervision of its state commission. This can reduce costs, enabling the company to provide medical benefits via a managed care health provider. Generally, only large companies qualify for self-insurance.

Some states are allowing smaller companies in like industries to collectively fund self-insurance plans for workman's comp, enabling members to meet the necessary financing requirements, yet also manage risk. This is called group self-insurance.

How can a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) help me to reduce cost and become more profitable?

Workers' Compensation Insurance is a necessity for any business owner. Managing workers’ compensation costs and effective claims management is critical to the success of your business. A reduction in workers' compensation costs adds real dollars to the bottom line.

By outsourcing the non-productive and non-revenue producing activities of your business to a PEO, your company will receive the benefits of improved productivity and profitability.

As a self-insured PEO, we do not have to charge high prices for our worker’s compensation based upon traditional insurance industry guidelines. We have the ability to review and assess risk on a company by company basis.

To assist in the reduction of workers' compensation costs, BBSI can provide the following programs and services to your company:

By teaming up with BBSI, you position yourself with a partner that will allow you to recapture more of your time, increase your profitability and reduce your liability and stress.

What is a PEO (Professional Employer Organization)?

A PEO is a Human Resource Management company that provides a "co-employment" relationship to companies that are motivated to reduce costs in payroll processing, workers compensation costs and claims, various employee benefits and retirement plans, human resource management, employee liability and other related HR costs and expenses.

A PEO can give you the assistance you need to minimize cost and maximize efficiency while you focus on your core competencies and grow your bottom line. companies that are motivated to reduce costs in payroll workers compensation

How are workmans compensation premiums calculated?

Workman's comp insurance premiums are generally determined by the workman's comp classification your business receives and the degree of hazard that is associated with that classification. Each classification is assigned a rate or loss cost, based on insurer experience with that business type, which strongly affects a business's final premiums. Consequently, it's essential that companies receive the correct classifications, of which there are some 600. A company's safety record also affects a company's workman's comp premiums. If an insurer finds a company's record is better than the industry average after performing a risk evaluation, the business's premiums could be reduced. If its record is worse than the average, the reverse can happen.

How do I purchase a workmans comp insurance plan for my employees?

Verify that your state's law allows you to purchase workman's comp insurance from a private insurer. Some states prohibit this. If your state is "competitive," you may get quotes from multiple providers. In minutes, compare polices and select the one with the best price and benefits. To receive your quotes, be prepared to provide information about your business and its prior workman's comp history.

What benefits do my employees receive?

All workman's compensation laws require insurance carriers to provide the following four core benefits: medical expenses; indemnity payments for temporary and permanent disability (total and partial); physical and vocational rehabilitation (varies widely state to state); and death benefits. Indemnity payments for temporary and permanent disabilities are from 66 2/3 to 80 percent of lost wages. To read more about workman's comp benefits.

What benefits do employers receive?

Workman's compensation is the exclusive remedy for workers who sustain occupational injury or illness. Injured or ill employees, in other words, cannot sue the employer for personal injury or negligence. Workman's comp benefits are fixed by law. Additionally, workman's compensation systems provide employers a mechanism for facilitating the return of employees to work.

What are my employees' workman's comp rights?

In a majority of states, claimants have the right to select their own workman's compensation physician. In all states, claimants have the right to hire a workman's comp attorney to represent them. According to all workman's comp laws, employees can appeal disputed or delayed claims with their state workman's comp commission.

What are my rights, as an employer?

Employers, in many states, have the right to assign employees a pre-designated physician to diagnose their occupational injury or illness and guide treatment for a limited amount of time. Employers also generally have the right to monitor employee recovery in the interests of facilitating a prompt return to work. Employers in many states have "defenses" against workman's comp insurance claims. Employers in some states, can dispute workman's comp claims in instances of self-inflicted wounds, intoxication, failure to use safety devices, or failure to follow posted safety rules.

What are my employees' workman's comp responsibilities?

All workman's comp laws require employees to notify their employee of a work-related injury or illness within a specific time period. If employees fail to do so, they risk forfeiting their workers comp benefits. Additionally, workers must accurately complete necessary injury reports and claims forms, and sometimes send them to their state commission, to be eligible for workman's comp benefits. In some states, employees must obtain written permission from their employer or insurer before changing medical practitioners. Finally, employees claiming disability benefits must notify their workman's comp insurer if they have a change of income or are considering a new job.

What are my responsibilities, as an employer?

Employers must act in accordance with their state's workman's comp law. They must have all applicable forms on hand, such as the "First Report of Injury," enabling employees to quickly and easily file claims. Employer also must attend to the immediate medical needs of employees who suffer work-related injury or illness. Employee medical costs, due to occupational injury, are to be billed to the employer's internal workman's comp fund or insurer, not to the employee's health plan.

What if I think an employee is filing a false report or claim?

If you feel an employee is lying about the circumstances of his or her injury or you have evidence to this effect, submit the employee's workman's comp insurance claim with a signed letter explaining why you believe the claim is disputable. Your insurer and workman's comp commission will investigate the issue and take appropriate action. Do not question legitimate claims. You risk employee resentment and increased claim costs in the long run.

How can I control my workman's comp costs?

Be serious about workplace safety, posting warnings and safety instructions around your workplace. Also, invest in safety training and require your employees to wear proper safety gear. Schedule a safety consultation with your state's workman's comp commission or a private consultant. All will reduce your long-term costs.

Communicate regularly with injured employees. Research indicates that this lowers costs per claim and encourages employees to return to work faster. Consider self-insurance for workman's comp in order to provide medical benefits via a managed care health provider. If your state law allows it, institute an early return-to-work program. This includes educating your designated physician about the rigors of your business and each employee position. Finally, review your workman's comp insurance claims and costs on a quarterly basis with an eye for addressing safety issues and over-expenditures.